England U20s | Tries: Coles, Willis, Capstick Cons: Hodge (3) Pens: Hodge
Italy U20s | Tries: Lai, Capuozzo, Garbisi Cons: Da Re Pens: Da Re (2)
England U20s claimed victory in their second match of the World Rugby U20 Championship, claiming a thrilling 24-23 win over Italy in Sante Fe, Argentina.
Steve Bates’ side got back to winning ways against a strong Italian outfit following on from the loss to Ireland in the opening fixture of the tournament.
England held a slender one-point lead at the break through an Alex Coles converted try whilst Italy fought back with two penalties from Giacomo Da Re.
During a rampant second-half, Steve Bates' side scored through Tom Willis and Richard Capstick, with Italy replying through Cristian Lai, Ange Capuozzo and Paolo Garbisi but Josh Hodge's late penalty proved to be the pivotal score.
Italy opened the scoring nine minutes into the game through a Giacomo Da Re effort at goal, after a first trip into the England 22 despite Steve Bates’ men dominating possession in the early proceedings. [0-3]
With the game heading towards the last ten minutes of the half, Alex Cole got England on the score board after a strong drive towards the line and Josh Hodge added the extras. [7-3]
Da Re set England back with his second strike at the sticks as the teams went into the half-time interval with a point separating them after a closely fought half. [7-6]
The Italians stunned the English defence after the break, scoring two tries in five minutes. Cristian Lai bundled over the line after a well-worked move, Italian captain Davide Ruggeri managed to offload to an oncoming Capuozzo who finished under the posts. [7-16]
After soaking up the pressure, England broke the Italian resilience as Tom Willis crashed his way over off the back a driving maul. Hodge added the extras to close the gap. [14-16]
But it was the Italians who hit back straight away, Paolo Garbisi was the beneficiary after a well-timed offload off the base of the scrum from Antoine Koffi and after a quick set of hands the fly-half cruised in to score. [14-23]
However, England had the final say as Capstick got himself on the scoresheet, the lock showed good strength as he muscled his way over and Hodge converted the extra points. [21-23]
In an explosive second-half, Steve Bates’ side saw off the result as Hodge watched his long-range effort sail through the posts to give his side a crucial win. [24-23]
England U20s captain, Fraser Dingwall: “We knew this Italian side would turn up and give us a good test, but we are really happy, and I think we can relax into the tournament more now that we have that first win under our belt.
“We were unlucky not to get that fourth try at the end, which is what we were working for, but a win is a win and we are really happy.
“We are all gearing up to put some pressure on Australia. There is still hope, there is the best second place spot. We are not written off and we will be gearing up for next week.”
15. Josh Hodge (Newcastle Falcons), 14. Tom Seabrook (Gloucester Rugby), 13. Connor Doherty (Sale Sharks), 12. Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints, (C), 11. Arron Reed (Sale Sharks), 10. Tom De Glanville (Bath Rugby), 9. Sam Maunder (Exeter Chiefs); 1. Kai Owen (Worcester Warriors), 2. Will Capon (Bristol Bears), 3. Alfie Petch (Exeter Chiefs), 4. Richard Capstick (Exeter Chiefs), 5. Alex Coles (Northampton Saints), 6. Josh Basham (Newcastle Falcons), 7. Aaron Hinkley (Gloucester Rugby), 8. Rusiate Tuima (Exeter Chiefs)
16. Nic Dolly (Sale Sharks), 17. James Kenny (Exeter Chiefs), 18. Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers), 19. Olly Adkins (Gloucester Rugby), 20. Joel Kpoku (Saracens), 21. Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors), 22. Tom Willis (Wasps Rugby), 23. Ollie Fox (Yorkshire Carnegie), 24. Luke James (Sale Sharks), 25. Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks), 26. Ollie Sleightholme (Northampton Saints)
England U20 fixtures and results
4 June: England U20s 26-42 Ireland U20s
8 June: England U20s 24-23 Italy U20s
12 June: England U20s v Australia U20s (KO 7.30pm BST), live on World Rugby platforms.
Knockout stages on Monday, 17 June and finals day on Saturday, 22 June, live on ITV.